Lobbying and letter writing

Jameson Eisenmenger

Jameson Eisenmenger, senior staff attorney, wrote this column.

At the all-hands meeting yesterday, someone asked whether a letter-writing campaign to Congress would be helpful. FRA employees have the right to contact their elected representatives through a letter-writing campaign or otherwise. However, as federally-funded employees, FRA employees cannot exercise this right while working or by using Fermilab resources, including Fermilab computers.

These restrictions come from our prime contract with DOE and our own ethics program. Our prime contract prohibits FRA from using DOE funds to directly or indirectly influence or attempt to influence congressional action on any legislation or appropriation matters (e.g., the Continuing Resolution for FY 2011) pending before Congress. Because FRA employees are paid with DOE funds, this lobbying restriction applies to individual employees while working. Our ethics program includes the same restrictions by barring FRA employees’ use of Fermilab computers or other property.

In their personal lives and using their own resources, FRA employees are free to contact their elected representatives in any way they choose. And as Director Oddone said, they want to hear from you.

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